2011 - 25 Years of Waterfowl Restoration Project


1346 COUNTY ROAD #11
PHONE 256 259-2969

Summer Conservation Blog 2011
25 Years of Waterfowl Restoration Project by Alabama Waterfowl Association, Inc.

    CONSERVATION SEED PROGRAM ON GOING: Dean’s Farm Supply has soy bean seeds just in time to plant for deer browse for $10 a 50 # bag. These are short season maturity and round up resistant. Wheat will be available July 25th for $8 a 50# bag. Call to make sure the product you want is available. (256) 574-1112. Dove season opens Sept. 3, 2011 in North Alabama.

    The Alabama Waterfowl Association, Inc. (AWA) has been working on enhancement of Alabama’s waterfowl resources for a quarter of a century now. Much thanks to all the volunteer officers and individuals who has helped Alabama’s wetlands, waterfowl resource, tourism and habitat for all wildlife.

    The AWA started out with just a handful of volunteers under what was known as the Tennessee Valley Waterfowl Association (TVWA) in Guntersville, Alabama. The first project was in the summer of 1987. In 1990 TVWA became a state organization and changed the name to Alabama Waterfowl Association, Inc  (AWA) .

    AWA purchased 16 giant Canada geese from Harold Hill owner of Lake Rosemary Goose Refuge in Madison, Alabama for $1,600 and released them at North Sauty Refuge in Scottsboro, Alabama as the Greg Myers Memorial Flock. Greg was the son of Dr. Carl Wayne Myers in Huntsville that was and avid waterfowl conservationist, Greg Myers was killed a year or so earlier in a fireworks accident.

    This first release was an effort where Jerry Davis founder along with Roy Sanderson, Gary Benefield and Marty Upton all of Marshall County realized that the Tennessee Valley of Alabama was losing all the migratory geese that had started stopping short of Alabama. Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge and North Sauty Waterfowl Refuge lost thousand of Canada geese that had over-winter here in the Tennessee River Valley (TRV) of Alabama and now down to almost none. This was mostly due to all the new refuges that have been developed just north of Alabama in Illinois and Kentucky and the Canada geese started stopping short of our state.

     In 1988 AWA with the cooperation of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR) purchased 16 wild turkeys from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for $8,000 and traded the wild turkeys to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for 220 giant Canada geese that were over-populated in Illinois, in an innovative wildlife trade. AWA raised the money from donors and funded the trip to Jackson, Illinois to pick-up the geese, Alabama Wetland Specialist, Mr. David Hayden and AWA volunteers brought the geese back to place blue neck collars, bands and released the geese in several areas lakes in north Alabama. From 1988 to 1991 AWA trans-located banded over 2,400 giant Canada geese from Illinois, Michigan and Pennsylvania releasing them in North Alabama, this started Alabama’s first restocking effort on restoring the goose population back in Alabama. Also in 1988 AWA started the first mallard release project in our state by releasing 1,000 banded hard reared mallards that year.

    Now after 24 years AWA has banded and released over 100,000 mallards. These efforts by AWA and it many donors and volunteers has helped Alabama become one of the top 15 duck hunting states in North America for the number of ducks harvested per hunter an average of 10.4 ducks per hunter for 2009-2010 season according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service HIP survey. (Note 1) Also, AWA restoration projects have elevated Jackson County to be the top waterfowl county in our state. The increased waterfowl harvest opportunity in Alabama and out-of-state hunters and bird watchers; this has been an economic boost to Jackson County and the rest of the state by bringing in many dollars in tourism. AWA did an economic impact study that indicated if two out of state waterfowl hunters come into our area and stay 3 days, they average spending $750 per trip. This is just the tip of the iceberg on how much economic benefit waterfowl hunting is to our local and state economy in food, lodging, fuel, and gear. AWA would like to thank the many donors and volunteers that have made this one of the most successful waterfowl conservation efforts in the nation. Also, a quote that AWA is famous for nationally “ If you increase the hunting wildlife watching opportunity with projects like the mallard and goose enhancement projects, then the landowners, farmers and waterfowl hunting clubs will respond and create and develop more habitat to hunt and watch waterfowl, thus helping our environment and all wildlife species.”

    This year AWA banded and release 3,500 ducks in Alabama. BSA Troop 73 from New Hope, Alabama has been and is a big help in banding the ducks. Troop 73 has helped AWA with this effort for the past 10 years. This gives youngsters a chance for a hands-on conservation effort, and teaches them about conservation and how the sportsmen that hunts is putting something back into the resource.

    Two people that are a very important part of these programs are Leroy Heston and Harold Hill.

    AWA has been a state leader in conservation, with the Habitat Seed Program, re-introduction of the bald cypress back into the TRV of Alabama, restoring wetlands and waterfowl population enhancement projects. For more information and to join check the AWA website

Source information for Note 1

http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/NewReportsPublications/HIP/HuntingStatistics/Migratory Bird Hunting Activity and Harvest During the 2008 and 2009 Hunting Seasons. Preliminary Estimates.pdf

from The Clarion  Scottsboro/Jackson County Alabama
Written by Travis Tubbs Tuesday, 26 July 2011